“I have to believe what the player tells me because we have a relationship,” said Rassie Erasmus on Eben Etzebeth. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says that lock Eben Etzebeth visited the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Thursday afternoon after a complaint was laid against him following an incident in Langebaan at the weekend.

Some members of the public associated with the fracas have claimed on social media that Etzebeth and his family and friends – which included his brother Ryen and cousin Emile – had racially and physically abused a man, Enver Blaauw, and his group of friends at Die Watergat pub in Langebaan.

Blaauw has had pictures of him bloodied and bandaged uploaded on Facebook after he received treatment in hospital.

On Thursday, Erasmus told the media at a press conference in Johannesburg that Etzebeth – who was included in the 31-man Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup on Monday – had to attend to the complaint at the HRC.

“The update I can give you is that there was a complaint (laid) at the HRC. Eben and Eugene (Henning), our player affairs manager, is there this afternoon‚” Erasmus was quoted as saying by TimesLIVE.

“They are there in discussions at the HRC on exactly what the claim is. But there is no police or any other thing that we’ve heard.”

Etzebeth, who has played in 78 Tests for the Springboks, took to Facebook on Sunday to deny the allegations.

“It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan as has been reported on social media. Multiple witnesses can corroborate that,” he said.

“I am and will always strive to be a true ambassador to this beautiful rainbow nation and the sport that I love.”

SA Rugby said this week that Etzebeth had given his explanation of what happened in Langebaan, which had been accepted by the organisation and Erasmus.

The police, though, told the Cape Times earlier on Thursday that the matter was still being investigated.

“This office can confirm that a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was registered for investigation at Langebaan SAPS,” police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said.

“The mentioned person is not yet exonerated by the police as the case is still under investigation.”

Enver Blaauw was the man who was injured during the incident in Langebaan at the weekend. Photo: Grant Simon/Facebook
Enver Blaauw was the man who was injured during the incident in Langebaan at the weekend. Photo: Grant Simon/Facebook

The Springbok coach reiterated his view that Erasmus is still part of the team, unless other evidence emerged.

SA Rugby said this week that Etzebeth had given his explanation of what happened in Langebaan, which had been accepted by the organisation and Erasmus.

The Bok coach reiterated his view that the status quo remains, unless other evidence emerged.

“Obviously there is a player and coach relationship, and there is trust between a player and a coach,” Erasmus said.

“When something like that happens‚ and a lot of things on social media‚ not just about Eben, but a lot of players we have to handle daily...

“A lot of things get said and emails get thrown to us about a lot of players, which is something we ignore because often it is just nonsense.

“Obviously this one has become a big thing. I have to believe what the player tells me because we have a relationship.

“Until something else is proved differently, only then we can act.”

The Boks are scheduled to fly to Japan on Friday, and will play their final World Cup warm-up match against the host country on 6 September.

They begin their tournament against the All Blacks in Yokohama on 21 September (11.45am SA time kickoff). 

@ashfakmohamed


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